Safer, More Environmentally Friendly Fireworks Could Soon Come Our Way

The end goal is to curb air pollution, reduce the risk of accidents

By on January 21st, 2014 01:56 GMT

Researchers are now working on developing a new generation of fireworks that they hope will be both safer and a tad more environmentally-friendly than the ones currently used across the world.

They say that, according to their investigations into the matter at hand, one very simple way to improve on the ecological footprint of fireworks is to toy with the particle size of the chemicals they are made from.

Specifically, scientists have found that, while being as entertaining as run-off-the-mill fireworks, those made from nanoparticles need a smaller amount of chemicals to get the job done, i.e. make noise and put on a colorful show.

Click Green reports that, while carrying out laboratory experiments, researchers have found that, when resorting to nanoparticles to produce a type of fireworks known as “cake bombs" or "repeaters,” they needed to use just 25% of the powder currently required to manufacture them in order to obtain the safe effects.

Besides, it would appear that, when the same method was used to make firecrackers, overall sulphur emissions were reduced by as much as 61%, the same source details.

The problem is that, for the time being at least, this approach to manufacturing fireworks is fairly risky. However, specialists are confident that, in time, they will manage to make them safer. 

“This new approach to the manufacture of fireworks using nanoparticles has some important advantages for the environment,” says David Brown with the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

“Chemical engineers are well aware of the dangers of using chemicals with very small particle sizes. They are particularly explosive and fireworks made from nanoparticles carry an even greater risk.”

“More research is needed to identify safer methods of production in the fireworks industry, as well as higher standards of process safety,” the specialist goes on to stress.

In the year 2013, a total of 8 accidents in firework factories were documented worldwide. These accidents occurred in China (3), India (2), Italy, Canada, and Vietnam. A total of 48 deaths were reported in connection to them, and little over a hundred people are said to have needed medical help after being injured. 

Besides, fireworks have been documented to release noteworthy amounts of compounds such as sulphur dioxide, and fine particles of elements such as potassium, magnesium, barium, copper and aluminium into the air. Hence, they are a contributor to environmental pollution and constitute a threat to public health. 

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